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How to Choose the Right Bedsheets for a Good Night’s Sleep

Three beds with white and cream sheets
Brookline/Great Bay Home/Vonty

Everyone has slightly different wants and needs when it comes to their bedsheets because it can make a huge difference in your sleep quality. Do you need to be cool or warm? Do you prefer simple, luxurious, crisp, or soft? Whatever your preferences are, we’ll help you narrow down the perfect sheet set for you.

Cotton Sheets

A set of white bedsheets and pillows; a bed made with cream-colored sheets and pillows
Feather & Stitch/Brookline

When it comes to bedsheets, the most common material by far is variations of cotton. Versatile, comfortable, and easy to clean, it’s a fiber that most people like in most types of weather. Plus, it’s very affordable.

All cotton sheets are not made equal, however. You’ll come across two major types: percale and sateen. Both are made of cotton, but their weaves and textures differ.

Percale sheets tend to be lighter and crisper, while sateen is heavier and feels more luxurious, and almost silky. One type isn’t any better than the other, so it all comes down to which you prefer.

If you’re just looking for an affordable, basic sheet set, try Feather & Stitch’s 100% cotton percale sheets. The durable cotton will soften with every wash. They’re available in King or Queen size, and come in 10 different fade-resistant colors and prints. This set is ideal for those who prefer crisp, cool, affordable sheets.

Feather & Stitch 100% Cotton Percale Bed Sheets

Comfy set with deep pockets to fit most mattresses.

If you’re looking for a more luxurious cotton option, Brooklinen’s Luxe Core Sheet Set is a perfect choice. They offer the ease of cotton with an elegant sateen weave. They’re available in sizes from twin to California king, and several neutral colors. These soft, smooth sheets are also certified for chemical safety.

Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set

Splurge on long-lasting luxury.

Linen Sheets

A bed with blue bedsheets; close up of a bed with gray linen sheets
Bedsure/Simple & Opulence

Linen is the luxury upgrade you never knew you needed for your bedding. At first glance, it’s most similar to cotton. Made from the flax plant, linen is a light, breathable material that’s also wildly durable. While both cotton and linen are breathable, linen is lighter and has a slight edge when it comes to hot sleepers.

These sheets can hold up for years, or even decades, while actually becoming more comfortable and soft over time. If you’re looking for a sustainable set that’s also incredibly comfy and cool, linen is for you. However, there’s really no such thing as “bargain linen,” so expect to pay more than you would for a cotton sheet set.

You can get this French linen set from Simple & Opulence for under $150, at this writing. They’re available in twin to California king sizes, and a wide selection of colors.

Simple & Opulence 100% Washed Linen Sheet Set

Perfect for hot sleepers, this high-quality fabric will last a long time.

Bedsure’s deep-pocket sheet set is a bit more affordable (you can get a California king set for under $140, at this writing). It’s available in fewer colors than the set above, but the deep pockets ensure they will fit most mattresses.

Bedsure Linen Sheets Set

Affordable, 100% linen sheets with deep pockets to fit most mattresses.

Flannel Sheets

A bed with white sheets and a quilt; a set of gray plaid sheets
Great Bay Home/Feather & Stitch

During winter, crisp, light cotton or linen sheets can be a bit too breezy. While most flannel sets are also made of cotton, the process used produces a thicker, cozier material that’s also brushed for extra softness.

The manufacturing process also traps in warm air to keep you cozy on chilly nights, while still remaining breathable to prevent any discomfort. The key to choosing good flannel sheets is to find a set that’s soft and washes well, without becoming rough or pilled.

If you prefer an affordable, yet classic option, check out these sets by Feather & Stitch. They’re available in three classic flannel patterns and one deer motif.

For more of a splurge, one of these options from Great Bay Home should do the trick. Still made of soft, durable cotton flannel, these sets come in more neutral colors and patterns.

Great Bay Home Extra Soft 100% Cotton Flannel Sheets

Cozy flannel in neutral colors and stripes.

Silk Sheets

A bed with white silk sheets; a bed with gray silk sheets

To many people, silk sheets are the epitome of luxury, but are they really all that great? Well, yes and no.

Silk does feel incredibly smooth against your skin, and it’s also quite breathable and ideal for keeping cool at night. If you have sensitive skin, silk also can also feel less irritating. Silk pillowcases are also recommended for people who have hair that’s prone to tangling and breakage.

On the downside, though, silk is much pricier than other sheets. It can also be harder to care for, especially if the material is 100% silk.

If you want to invest in silk sheets, though, just make sure they’re worthy of the splurge. Always check the details to make sure they’re real silk, as some sets are actually made with synthetic fibers.

This set from ZIMASILK is hypoallergenic, OEKO-TEX certified as being free of all toxic chemicals, and made of 100% mulberry silk. They’re available in king and queen sizes, and many different colors.

ZIMASILK 100% Mulberry Silk Bed Sheet Set

These beautiful sheets are the real deal.

For a more affordable option, you can get a similar look and feel with polyester satin sheets, like this set from Vonty. While the quality and texture won’t be identical to silk, these are the next-best thing.

Vonty Satin Sheets

An affordable alternative to pricey silk.

Bamboo Sheets

A bed with white and blue sheets; a stack of gray sheets
Hotel Sheets Direct/Cosy House Collection

Recently, bamboo has become a popular material for bedsheets. Durable and sustainable, these sheets are also known to be very comfortable and cooling.

Like other materials, some bamboo sheets are treated with harsh chemicals. However, many eco-friendly brands do produce soft, breathable bamboo sheets for folks with sensitive skin. Bamboo sheets come in several varieties, including 100% and sets that are blends with other fibers, including cotton.

If you prefer 100% bamboo, these options from Hotel Sheets Direct are the real deal. Made of pure viscose of bamboo, they have moisture-wicking for a cooling effect. They’re also available in sizes from twin to California king, and a large selection of solid colors.

Hotel Sheets Direct 100% Bamboo Sheets

Made of 100% bamboo for superior cooling and breathability.

A blended bamboo sheet set offers similar benefits, but at a lower price. These sets from Cosy House Collection combine bamboo, rayon, and microfiber, and come in a large selection of solid colors.

Cosy House Collection Luxury Bamboo Bed Sheet Set

A bamboo blend that's both comfy and affordable.

Like anything else, your bedding is an investment. That’s why you want to make sure you purchase a sheet set that’s durable, but will also help you sleep. Whether you’re a hot or cold sleeper, one of these sets is sure to fit the bill (and your mattress).

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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